Orange is the New Black

Netflix to join Internet Slowdown protest on 10 September

Orange is the New Black is one of Netflix's high-profile original series

9 September 2014

Netflix has joined the Internet Slowdown Day protest against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) potentially allowing Internet ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ lanes. Scheduled for this Wednesday, 10 September, Netflix and other participating sites will demonstrate what a two-tiered Web might look like, by running simulated page-loading icons on its pages.

Other websites taking part include the ACLU, I Can Has Cheezburger, Digg, Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Reddit, Upworthy, Urban Dictionary, Vimeo, and WordPress. However, users shouldn’t get too alarmed by the protest as the slowdown will only be simulated, not actual – the spinning ‘loading’ icons you’ll see on those sites are entirely symbolic.

The idea behind the Internet Slowdown is to galvanise public support to save net neutrality, preventing carriers from making bandwidth distinctions between companies who pay for carriage (fast lane) and those who do not (slow lane).

The FCC has been struggling to redefine net neutrality after its old rules were struck down earlier this year.

Companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter have already been lobbying the FCC to save net neutrality. The idea of allowing Internet fast and slow lanes is being advocated by some major US cable and broadband carriers, who would profit by charging a premium for greater speed carriage.

Citing ‘Team Cable’ (AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon) as the enemy, Internet Slowdown co-organiser Fight for the Future is trying to rally Americans behind its protest. “Cable companies want to slow down (and break!) your favorite sites, for profit,” says a declaration on the organisation’s home page. “To fight back, let’s cover the Web with symbolic loading icons, to remind everyone what an Internet without net neutrality would look like, and drive record numbers of calls and emails to lawmakers.”

Given that the FCC has shown itself open to allowing cable companies to charge for preferred fast access, the stakes are high in the net neutrality debate. Internet Slowdown Day protest takes place just five days before the FCC closes second-round comments into the net neutrality issue.


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